Don’t compare Trump’s social media post to Kathy Griffin

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The Bible salesman deemed it a Christian gesture last week to retweet some MAGA moron’s depiction of the president of the United States trussed like a turkey in the back of a manly pickup truck.

No surprise there – Trump’s stinking sewage has long stressed our olfactory organs to the max. But what’s infuriating is that the criminal defendant, who’s out on bail in four jurisdictions, never gets held accountable for his incitements to violence.

You weren’t waiting for Trump to sincerely apologize for posting the Biden effigy photo, were you?

One hundred years ago this week, Adolph Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for his central role in the failed Beer Hall Putsch insurrection. By contrast, our own home-grown thug has yet to suffer even a slap on the wrist. Our courts move with the speed of a swimmer in quicksand, and don’t get me started (for the umpteenth time) about the Republicans and MAGAts who indulge and excuse every fascistic incitement.

At bare minimum, political commentator Michael Tomasky reminds us “anyone else who incited an insurrection against the temple of our democracy and wanted his own vice president hanged would have been drummed out of politics the next week.”

Last weekend’s flap over the hog-tied Biden image was a classic example. Trump’s defenders quickly flooded social media with condemnations of comedian Kathy Griffin. It was the predictable ButWhatAbout game – as in: But what about Griffin, who posted a shock-art pic back in 2017, when she posed with an effigy of Trump’s bloody severed head?

Yes, she did, and it was disgusting. Indeed, the MAGAts who seized on the Griffin episode – flying the flag of false equivalence – is that they ignored a slew of salient details. In ascending order of importance:

1. Kathy Griffin is not Joe Biden. If the president was posting violent images of Trump, that would be real equivalence. But he doesn’t live in the gutter.

2. Griffin immediately apologized for what she’d posted: “I crossed the line…I went too far…I beg for your forgiveness. I made a mistake and I was wrong.”

3. Trump’s critics quickly denounced her. Ex-Hillary Clinton aide Peter Daou, said, “I just saw the violent Trump imagery and I find it horrible.” Liberal celebrity-activists piled on. Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted at Griffin: “I’m sorry but that is totally inappropriate and so very offensive. And I have to believe you’re smart enough to know better.”

4. Griffin suffered professional consequences. She was fired from her annual CNN New Year’s Eve gig with Anderson Cooper. She lost a major sponsorship. Her 2017 comedy tour was canceled. She later said, “I lost about 75 percent of my friends that never came back.”

5. Since threatening a president is potentially a federal crime, she got in big trouble with the authorities. She was visited by the Secret Service. She was targeted by the Justice Department in a two-month investigation. She was put on the no-fly list. She was questioned by Interpol.

Trump deserves that level of accountability, at minimum. I fail to understand how a criminal defendant who encourages and exploits violent imagery about the president – and who repeatedly attacks, by name, the daughter of a judge in one of his criminal cases – has not, by definition, violated his bail release conditions.

One last word about what happened 100 years ago. Hitler’s five-year jail sentence was a pittance. The German courts were intimidated by his violent followers, and he was released within nine months. You know the rest of the story. Joni Mitchell said it best, in lyrics:

Strong and wrong you win
Only because
That’s the way it’s always been

As we careen toward America’s judgment day, are our stressed democratic institutions strong enough to win the future?

Copyright 2024 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at [email protected]